Source: Berlinale

Berlin’s European Film Market (EFM) plans to partly relax its controversial admission policy to the Gropius Bau and the Marriott Hotel venues for 2020. Festival badge holders will now be able to access the venues after 5pm over the busy first weekend of Friday February 21 to Monday February 24.

Last year festival badge holders were barred access to the two venues for the entirety of the first weekend due to what EFM said were over-crowding concerns.

“Additionally, the Gropius Mirror restaurant will be enlarged with a modern, light-flooded temporary annex in front of the restaurant and will be open to festival badge holders every day from 9am to 11am,” Matthijs Wouter Knol, director of the EFM has told Screen.

Festival badge holders could access the restaurant last year but its expansion will be new.  

The EFM was criticised last year by industry executives who had only applied for festival accreditation and realised they would not be able to access the Gropius Bau or the Marriott with market accreditation for the first time.

Knol said the decision to slightly relax the restrictions on access had been made after consulting the market survey of participants at the 2019 market. This had shown that almost 80% of the participants had been happy with the EFM’s new arrangement.

¨The survey also showed us off-peak times when the visitor flow becomes quieter and the number of people in the building decreases, which is after 5pm,” Knol explained. “That’s why we decided to open the market venues for festival badge holders at that time.¨

He added that ¨to meet the still existing security and fire regulations of the Gropius Bau, the EFM is investing in building an additional temporary fire escape at the eastern side of the building.¨

New business lounge

Among further innovations for EFM 2020 is the creation of a new business lounge to replace the buyers’ lounge. It will be located in the southern part of the Gropius Bau where the accreditation registration used to be.

The business lounge will also host the new EFM Landmark platform for international film commissions on February 24-25.

Knol explained EFM accreditation desks will now be moving to the Debis Atrium in Eichhornstraße, near the Berlinale Palast at Potsdamer Platz. This is where German film industry participants collect their accreditation badges and where the ticket counters are located.

Accreditation fees for both market and festival accreditation remains the same for 2020, said Knol. The early bird rate of €250 for the market badge applies until next Frida (December 6), and will then be at the regular rate of €300 until January 12.

Festival accreditation costs €125 until January 12. A late fee of €50 will be charged for registration after that for both festival and market accreditation.

Combined festival and market accreditation costs €375 until December 6. After that it rises to €425 until January 12.

No ”out of competition” for Chatrian

Speaking to the German press this week, the Berlinale’s new artistic director Carlo Chatrian said he will be dispensing with the ‘out of competition’ category for films.

In an interview with Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, Chatrian said this category of ‘out of competition’ had always seemed a contradiction to him.

“Either a film is competing for the Bears or it screens outside of the Competition as a Berlinale Special gala,” he explained.

In addition, Chatrian announced the Competition line-up for the 70th edition of the Berlinale and his first in charge will be announced at the official press conference in Berlin on January 29.

Previously, a handful of titles had been unveiled in December.

However, the Berlinale’s other sections such as International Forum, Panorama, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino, will continue to reveal their titles in instalments.

In the interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Chatrian suggested stars and the red carpet are only “a means to an end” for him and the films themselves are the main focus of his attention.

“In my eyes, the Berlinale isn’t a glamour machine, we aren’t the Fashion Week, that is not part of the Berlinale’s identity and is basically also not part of Berlin’s identity.”